Tuesday, June 09, 2009


That's why terrorists terrorize: it gets results.

The Wichita abortion clinic run by a doctor who was shot and killed will remain closed permanently, his family said on Tuesday.

Dr. George R. Tiller's clinic was one of the few in the country to provide abortions to women late in their pregnancies, and for decades, women had traveled there from all over the nation and from overseas. It was also the only remaining abortion clinic, even for first trimester abortions, in the Wichita region.

... After Dr. Tiller was shot and killed on May 31 as he served as an usher at his Wichita church, abortion rights advocates – including at least one abortion provider in Nebraska – had said they hoped others might step in and keep Dr. Tiller’s clinic open to provide late-term abortions. Abortion rights advocates had the loss of such a clinic would be devastating to families of women who learned late in pregnancy of catastrophic health issues.

Even some abortion opponents, who had long devoted their efforts to closing down Dr. Tiller’s clinic, said they did not wish to see it happen under these circumstances. Last week, Troy Newman, the leader of Operation Rescue, had said that closing the clinic now would send a worrisome message. "Good God, do not close this abortion clinic for this reason," he said in an interview with The New York Times. "Every kook in the world will get some notion." ...

Yes, that was one of the most ridiculous articles I've read in the Times lately -- an article titled "Closed Clinic Leaves Abortion Protesters at a Loss" Oh, my God! No more Dr. Tiller? Whatever will we do?

"I don't know what the future holds," said Troy Newman, the president of Operation Rescue, one of the most well-known anti-abortion organizations. Seven years ago, Mr. Newman moved his organization's national headquarters, its leaders and his family from Southern California to Wichita to focus a national spotlight on Dr. Tiller, whom he described as "the flagship" of the country’s abortion business.

"I think it's too early to say what comes next," he said.

Although Operation Rescue worked for years to close down Dr. Tiller’s clinic, his death was never the outcome Mr. Newman wished for, he said. Of the man charged with killing Dr. Tiller, he tearfully said, "This idiot did more to damage the pro-life movement than you can imagine."

Oh, give me a break. As for "what comes next," that's easy. What comes next is what's been coming for years: more and more partial victories for the anti-abortion movement, as the ability to obtain a safe, legal abortion slowly but inexorably disappears in the vast majority of the country.

Oh, but I know what's bothering Troy Newman -- he's worried that if there are more attacks and killings like this, he won't be able to keep convincing himself that he has nothing to do with it. Either that or he thinks he might lose his hard-won position in respectable society. (A few years ago, after all, Operation Rescue was seen as dangerous and extreme, and now here's Troy getting to write the rebuttal to the lead editorial in USA Today one day last week, as respectable as you please.)

Newman and his allies shouldn't worry. No matter how many doctors are gunned down, no matter how many clinics are firebombed, trhe anti-choice movement is still going to keep coming back strong, because liberals are too polite to take our own side in an argument. Oh, sure, we'll defend the bare essence of Roe if it's under threat but, short of that, we won't get mad -- we certainly won't say, "Hell yes, we support abortion rights." Newman and his pals just have to look at the gun crowd, which never apologizes and never even pauses to savor a victory. It just keeps coming -- and the anti-choicers will do the same.


UPDATE: I don't know if I'm being punked, but I see that the murder of Tiller is being defended -- no, applauded -- in comments. And I don't mind pseudonyms, but really, schmuck -- naming yourself after the site of the Virginia Tech massacre? Get help.

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